The Corner

Cell Breakthrough

Inexplicable headline on a story this am about a breakthrough for adult stem cells. Scientists at Harvard have been able to manipulate cells in adult mice to transform and do the work of other cells. This apparently leap-frogs the whole process of transforming adult cells into pluripotent stem cells. There are no ethical/moral problems with this kind of research. Particularly exciting for the mother of a kid with Type I diabetes as this experiment involved making pancreas cells that had been producing other digestive enzymes into insulin producing beta cells.

But the Post headline writers apparently didn’t understand the import of their own story. “Advance Stirs Up Debate on Embryos.” Exactly wrong. This research makes embryos irrelevant. The website headline (“Advance Could Quiet Stem Cell Controversy”) gets it right.

They accused us of not caring about the suffering of sick people; of being indifferent to the possibility of cures due to our ideological rigidity about “potential life,” and above all, of being “anti-science.” In fact, we were simply upholding the supreme value of each individual person. And, like Hippocrates, we had faith in science to arrive at cures without killing.

This is, to paraphrase Churchill, obviously not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but a VERY substantial beginning.


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